LGBT rights in Mali

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Gender identityNo
Discrimination protectionsNone
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Mali may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. LGBT persons face stigmatization among the broader population. According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 98 percent[1] of Malian adults believe that homosexuality is a way of life that society should not accept, which was the highest rate of non-acceptance in the 45 countries surveyed.[2]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Private, adult, consensual and non-commercial homosexuality is legal in Mali.[3]

Article 179 of the penal code punishes acts of "public indecency" with fines and imprisonment. This has sometimes been used against LGBT people who engage in public displays of affection.

While technically legal, the prevailing cultural and religious beliefs of most Mali citizens view same-sex sexual activity and non-traditional gender roles as immoral.

Discrimination protections[edit]

There are no anti-discrimination laws to protect the LGBT community from harassment and abuse on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.[4] also, societal discrimination is widespread.[5]

Adoption and family planning[edit]

Article 522 of the "Code des Personnes et de la Famille", which was passed by the National Assembly on 2 December 2011 and subsequently signed into the law by the president of Mali, forbids same-sex couples from adopting children.[5][6][7][8]

Living conditions[edit]

According to Dr. Dembelé Bintou Keita, the director of ARCAD/SIDA, an HIV/AIDS organization in Mali that provides health care for men who have sex with men (MSM), Malian society is not tolerant to MSM. They "have no rights and certainly no right to claim their sexual orientation. All cultural beliefs towards MSM are negative." MSM are forced into bisexuality or underground sexual practices that put them at high risk of sexually transmitted and HIV infections. "Men who are attracted to other men are forced to get married so that they will not bring shame to the family ... but they still have men as sexual partners."[9]

The U.S. Department of State's 2011 human rights report found that,

There were no publicly visible lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations in the country. The free association of LGBT organizations was impeded by a law prohibiting association "for an immoral purpose"; in 2005 the then governor of the District of Bamako cited this law to refuse official recognition to a gay rights association.[5]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1961)
Anti-discrimination laws in hate speech and violence No
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Same-sex marriage No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The number of adults surveyed in Mali was 700, yielding a margin of error of 4 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.
  2. ^ ""Pew Global Attitudes Project", pages 35, 84, and 117" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 February 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  3. ^ "State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults", International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, authored by Lucas Paoli Itaborahy, May 2012, page 12 Archived 21 December 2012 at WebCite
  4. ^ "Refugee Legal Aid: Mali", Fahamu, researched by Rhiannon Archer
  5. ^ a b c 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Mali, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, pages 17-18
  6. ^ "Le nouveau Code de la famille au Mali: une véritable régression pour les droits des femmes", FIDH, 23 January 2012
  7. ^ "Mali: promulgation du Code de la famille révisé", AFP, 20 January 2012
  8. ^ LOI N°2011 – 087 du 30 Décembre 2011 PORTANT CODE DES PERSONNES ET DE LA FAMILLE Archived 12 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Homophobia and Stigmatization Hamper HIV Prevention Efforts in Mali", Behind the Mask, 14 March 2011, reprinted at